POSTED:  Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Hi Score Girl is a Love Letter to 90's Fighting Game Players... and it's a Must Watch.

  

First off, I'm not the typical person who recommends anime.  Back in my younger days, I used to watch a lot more anime (some old school favorites include Berserk, Initial D and Death Note).  The last "modern" anime I really enjoyed (and couldn't get enough of) was One Punch Man (patiently waiting for Season 2).  In general, I spend much more of my time trying to get better at fighting games over watching TV or movies.  However, as a fighting game enthusiast for 30+ years, I'm here to recommend to you an anime called Hi Score Girl.
 

PART 2
 


Yeah, Guile just got bodied.... and if you were ever a Guile main, you'll especially love this show. 

 
When it's not busy being a binge-worthy nostalgia trip, Hi Score Girl is something of a romantic comedy.  The snarky and sometimes rude Haruo Yaguchi doesn't seem at all interested in girls (an excusable flaw for a 6th grader) until, of course, he gets bodied by Miss Ono in Street Fighter II.  Haruo clearly takes his fighting game skills seriously... so seeing his bruised ego pushed to its limits after his losses (along with his cockiness after winning) is comedy gold.  Haruo eventually comes around in some ways, but I guess I won't spoil the love story part for you hopeless romantics.

Back to the games.... There are so many great references to small details of games and specific characters (and I won't spoil all of them for those who haven't seen it), along with the mention of iconic release dates for "life-changing" consoles at the time (including a few home consoles which were much more popular in Japan).

The show also provides us overseas fans with a historical walkthrough of Japanese culture in the 90's (as a kid) and its lucrative arcade scene.  From the little "mom & pop shop" arcades (with just a few sit-down cabinets), to the local "hotspot" where all the hardcore fighting game players hang out, to the overdone (and usually disappointing) theme park arcade... it's all very relatable to what many of us experienced overseas with the rise of fighting games in the 90's.
 


Among many of the show's random funny things... one of the teachers is actually Lau from Virtua Fighter. 

 
Time passes fairly quickly in the show, with characters aging and new games being released... even highlighting 3D fighters such as Virtua Fighter 1 & 2, and my personal favorite, TEKKEN  What the show gets very, very right is the "importance" the main character puts on the new games and systems coming out in the near future.  This struck a chord with me, as I could immediately relate to Haruo's excitement when talking to his friends about upcoming games (especially when those friends appear to be much less informed).  Going over to each other's houses to play on consoles and experiencing games for the first time with friends (because nobody can really afford to have all the systems by themselves)?  Those were the days.  Most kids of this new gaming generation will never know the struggle.
 


This screen speaks to me... This was exactly me in '95/'96. 

 
The anime's soundtrack is composed by the legendary Yoko Shimomura, known for her work on iconic and timeless soundtracks such as Final Fight, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, and Kingdom Hearts.  Besides the original songs heard in the intro and outro (which is especially catchy), most of the score (and sound effects) is designed to resemble music specifically from games like Street Fighter and Final Fight.  Needless to say, the audio design of Hi Score Girl is pretty fantastic all around.
 


You never know when and where Akuma will appear.     

 
There are even some clever cameos by actual fighting game (and non-fighting game) characters in Hi Score Girl.  Many of the cameos are fighting game characters speaking directly to Haruo in his head.  (Again, I won't spoil this comedy gold.)  For any kind of video game fan, of any age, Hi Score Girl is a must watch for historical value alone.  I for one can't wait for Season 2.  What makes Hi Score Girl even more interesting and unique is the fact that it begins in '91, with the characters aging at least 4-5 years throughout the first season.

That said, could you imagine a High Score Girl  "Season 7" with characters fully grown and still enjoying modern fighting games such as Ultra Street Fighter IV or TEKKEN 7This would be an authentic reflection of a large part of the fighting game community (and really the only piece of media that exists to reflect this lifelong passion of ours).  It's a pretty exciting prospect that Hi Score Girl could continue for several more seasons, as we will get to vicariously experience the excitement of future game releases along with the main characters.  That said, there's a ton of potential for this show on many levels.  And I must say... being an adult who still loves playing fighting games after 20 or 30 years is actually a pretty special thing.
~Frank Joseph / TFG Webmaster
 


Hi Score Girl was clearly made by fighting game fans... for fighting game fans. A must-watch! 

 
You can watch the entire first season (12 episodes) of Hi Score Girl on Netflix and Crunchy Roll.  Three "sequel" episodes 13-15 are planned for release on Netflix and as an OVA in March 2019. Below is an official trailer for the upcoming episodes.
 

 

   Return to Part 1
 

Keep it here on Fighters Generation for fighting game news & content!

 

Sources:  Hi Score Girl NetflixWarnerbrosanime  

RELATED NEWS  |  August 2020
AKIMAN, Akira Nishitani & John Tobias Talk Fighting Games in Netflix's High Score

Netflix's new series High Score retells the colorful history of video games, spanning the genre's major evolutions during the '80s and early '90s. In Episode 5, iconic Street Fighter 2  Director & Designer Akira Nishitani is joined by Akira "AKIMAN" Yasuda to talk about the humble beginnings of fighting games and the Street Fighter series.
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  (2-10-2019): Final Fight Developers Interview / TFG Retrospective

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